The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has called for more support from development partners in the critical area of staff training, in other to enhance the work of the Commission.
Chairman of the Commission, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, made the call yesterday, while receiving some computer items and accessories donated to the Gender and Inclusivity (G&I) department, by the Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC).
Represented by the Secretary to the Commission, Mrs. Rose Oriaran-Anthony, INEC Chairman identified training as a critical focus area for the Commission, while also appreciating PLAC for recently facilitating the training of Gender Desk Officers of the G & I department.
He said “we have identified that training is one critical area our staff need, and for you to have identified that aspect and built the capacity of our staff shows how closely knitted you are with us. We will continue to ask for more collaboration not only in facilities like this, but also in trainings in other activities that would impact on what we are doing.”
Professor Mahmood recognised the role PLAC and other development partners have played in shaping the work and policies of the Commission and called for deeper ties. He said, “PLAC has always supported the Commission, we have been like two sides of a coin working together, because you have been an ally when we need one, and a reasonable critic when necessary. You have always given us the push. We are not taking our partnership for granted. We have today gone a step further to identify critical departments to empower and build their capacity.”
Commenting on the important role of the Gender and Inclusivity department to the current focus of the Commission which is to organise free, fair, credible and inclusive elections, the INEC Chairman said, “the Commission is an equal opportunity agency. We have imbibed the religion of inclusivity, we have always said that as far as this Commission is concerned, every Nigerian, every man, woman, and youth must have equal opportunity as far as democracy is concerned. If you recall, years back, this department started as a gender desk, then we upgraded it to the Gender Division.”
“We are always proud to say we are one of the few Election Management Bodies within the Sub-region that has a Policy that addresses inclusion, especially the marginalised groups in the society. This is because democracy cannot thrive when there is seclusion.”
Earlier, the Executive Director of PLAC, Mr. Clement Nwankwo, while presenting the items said, “we are here because we believe that the Independent National Electoral Commission has been playing a very good role in our democracy and in recent months we have seen the creation of the Gender and Inclusivity department by the Commission. We know that the work of the department is carved out for it”.
Mr. Nwankwo expressed his organisations delight at the work of the Commission, especially with regards inclusion for marginalized groups. He pledged continued support to the Commission.
He said “we are so delighted that you have created this department in INEC and because we are so delighted with the quality of leadership and the work of the department and we are happy to work with you and to improve and increase the ability of the department to respond to the several issues before it, and that’s why with the support of the Mac-Arthur Foundation we decided that we should show some gesture of support for the department in terms of donating specific physical equipment.”
The Executive Director further said, “We have done some work of training with the department as identified by the department, with the Mac-Arthur Foundation supporting this, we hope we will be able to take this forward in the coming years. We are also hoping that other organisations who understand the importance of this department will also key in to support it.”
“For us in PLAC it’s not just with the department, it’s a broad framework of support that we think is important to give to INEC. For us, INEC is so critical for democracy and to democracy that support for it is imperative,” Mr Nwankwo added.